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72 Holland America Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it fitted with the dates we were available, due to work commitments. We had been to NZ before on a different cruise line, but love the place so repeat was not a problem. Embarkation was handled well, we had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fitted with the dates we were available, due to work commitments. We had been to NZ before on a different cruise line, but love the place so repeat was not a problem. Embarkation was handled well, we had a balcony cabin on deck 5 midship. Décor a little tired but cabin was roomy enough and found plenty of space for storage. Cabin attendants were great, plenty of laughs and well looked after. We don't dine in the restaurants and found the buffet great, lots of variety and very nicely cooked. No self serve, guessing this was from illness and or wastage, but not a problem. Breakfast was crazy on sea days but we only made it up in time for a couple so no problem there, have an early lunch instead. Entertainment was a little lacking compared to other cruises we've been on but we're happy to entertain ourselves so not a deal breaker. All crew / staff were excellent, friendly and attentive. Some of our fellow passengers forgot to pack their manners and they were handled very well. We didn't book any tours, got a couple of shuttle buses where needed but prefer to do our own thing. NYE was in Hobart which was one of the best we've had for a long time, we went to the local Casino in Hobart to see Ice House and returned to the Noordam about 11pm, things were rocking around the pool - BB King band were playing and a DJ out the back bar, fantastic nibbles and great atmosphere - great night. Whilst probably not the best ever we've been on there were a lot of good things and any negatives were not enough to stop us cruising with them again. These days we look at dates, availability and best deal - rather than a specific cruise line. Over all a most enjoyable holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Embarkation port in Sydney is White Bay, not as convenient as Circular Quay, and not at all scenic, being a commercial port. The day before embarkation we received an email advising us not to arrive before one. It would have been much ... Read More
Embarkation port in Sydney is White Bay, not as convenient as Circular Quay, and not at all scenic, being a commercial port. The day before embarkation we received an email advising us not to arrive before one. It would have been much better for planning had the email arrived earlier. We arrived shortly after one and embarkation was fairly smooth; our cabin was also ready. Buffet: For the first three days, there were loooong lines everywhere. The Buffet was not exactly self-served. You are handed everything by a staff member, everything from food to drinks to eating utensils. You line up for a glass of water, an extra spoon, a slice of bread,… you name it. The servers were so busy they would move on to the next person if you hesitated for one split second. They also had no time to attend to any requests, such as dark meat vs. white meat, or smaller portion … etc. They would just pile up on your plate, whether you are able to finish it or not, causing a lot of unnecessary wastage. Not only were there long line-ups everywhere, they were also many guests carrying multiple filled plates and/or glasses walking around. People were understandably trying to get everything they need all at once, rather than returning to the long lines again. Accidents waiting to happen. Because of this added workload to the servers, I believe bussing people were also called to help, resulting in fewer workers clearing tables. In short, eating at the buffet took a lot of effort and time, and a lot less relaxing than when I was on other cruises. This lasted for 3 days, and on day 4, all of a sudden things went back to normal. Buffet was self-served again. Dining room: There were long wait time for everything as well. I believe many were tired of the line up in the buffet and decided to have breakfast and lunch in the dining room, causing much longer wait time there as well. Food in the dining room was generally good, but the menu choices were quite limited. Other services: In the first three days, not only was the buffet not self-served, guests were not allowed to handle many other items as well. For example, you have to go to guest services to get a copy of the newspapers, or crossword puzzles. Library books were hidden in a drawer, and it’s a pain to see what’s available. Board games were all hidden, and there was often nobody around to ask. Guest services told me this is for sanitary reasons. I understand their concern over food items, but I think they were over-reacting when it came to paper products. How does one get contaminated by handling a newspaper? If they were absolutely adamant that nothing touched by one guest is touched by another without first getting it sanitized, then perhaps they need to be following everybody around and sanitizing every railing, wall and elevator button after they’ve been touched. I think they are just causing a lot of inconvenience for the guests as well as tons of unnecessary extra work for their frontline workers. Entertainment: I particularly enjoyed the piano quintet’s performances at Lincoln Center Stage. I also attended most of the Main Stage performances and enjoyed those as well, especially the very professional dancers. Disembarkation: The ship arrived on time in Auckland. We chose to self-disembark and everything went smoothly. We would stay a few more days in Auckland before flying back home. All in all, this cruise has been an enjoyable one, with lots of beautiful scenery to look at, despite the few rainy days we had. Ports: Sydney: Because of the wild fire, Sydney was under a cloud of yellowish haze. It was rather unpleasant but the harbour was still very pretty. Air quality was much better in the early morning and later in the evening. Definitely worth spend a few days pre-cruise. Public transportation was quite easy to use. We purchased an Opal card at the airport and used it to get to our hotel, for city travel as well as a longer ride to Bondi Beach one day. Melbourne: At the port, we purchased a My Ki card, which is a reloadable travel card with enough money for the day’s travel. There was a shuttle that took us near the downtown area. We spent the day visiting the Botanic Gardens, the Shrine of Remembrance, and the downtown waterfront. Hobart: We saw the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens, the Cenotaph as well as the historical area near Salamanca. At the Botanic Gardens, the very helpful staff at the visitors centre told us they have an agreement with the Red Bus and we could take it back to the city for $3.00. Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park: Very picturesque and serene sounds. Unfortunately for us the weather wasn’t the greatest, cloudy and rainy most of the time. I am sure it would have been much more spectacular had we had a sunny day. But it was still beautiful and an enjoyable experience. Port Chalmers (Dunedin): I found the i-Site (tourist information) at every New Zealand port organized and well-staffed. On this day we purchased a half-day city and garden tour at the port. The tour programme was good, taking us to see the major sites in Dunedin, including the Botanic Gardens, the railway station, Baldwin Street, Signal Hill Lookout, etc. Unfortunately for us, the tour company we went with, Exploring New Zealand, was a bit disorganized, and we were sometimes left not knowing what was happening. Akaroa (Christchurch): We bought a shuttle ticket from French Connection at the i-Site at the pier to Christchurch and did our own self-guided walking tour. The shuttle was right on time and the driver very efficient and professional. He provided commentary on the way to and from Christchurch. In fact, most of the New Zealanders associated with the tourism industry that we encountered during this trip were very professional. The downtown area is walkable and we had a great time exploring the Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens in Christchurch. Picton: Picton has a number of hikes right from the port area. We hiked up Tirohanga Track, and from there, had a nice view of our ship and the downtown area. If the weather had been better, we’d probably have done another short hike, but it started to rain, so we decided to just spend a little time in the downtown area. Wellington: It started out as a very rainy day. Pretty much everyone opted to go Te Papa Museum. I hadn’t planned on visiting this museum for very long, but it was so rainy we had no choice. That rain turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Te Papa is truly one of a kind. It’s like a few different museums under one roof. The art section is so creative and full of great ideas; the war section so thought-provoking… I thoroughly enjoyed every minute we spent inside. Don’t miss this if you’re going to Wellington. Napier: My research on this town prior to the trip yielded very little, so I did not know what to expect. The ship was there for just a few hours. So I thought perhaps this is just a little town for a short cruise stop-over, and I did not have much expectation. It turned out this is one of the best ports we visited. It’s well-organized, clean, and oh so pretty. I enjoyed the Marine Parade with the beaches, Sunken Garden, and the MTG Hawkes Bay Museum. The Art Deco architecture is so beautiful. We had a great time in this picturesque town. Tauranga (Rotorua): We booked an excursion with Shore Trips and Tours prior to our cruise to see Wai-O-tapu, Whakarewarewa Maori village and Rotorua. Everything went according to plan and we had a very professional guide and driver. Auckland: Disembarkation was smooth in Auckland. We stayed for another four nights before flying home, and had a great time visiting this lovely city and some of the surrounding areas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as ... Read More
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as the one on the T.V advertisement? Of course not. The Maasdam is now the oldest ship in the fleet but all public spaces are well maintained. In fact we believe the Rotterdam dining room and the Theatre/Showroom are beautiful. The size of the ship is a plus as there are plenty of seating in quiet places. We never waited more than a a couple of minutes for the elevator. During this 24 day crossing from Auckland to San Francisco there were about 11 sea days and this was when the library was appreciated. It is a great place to read about the American founding fathers American politicians and presidents, American sportspeople, and well known American authors. I particularly appreciated the stories of the American heroes of the integration of black Americans. Well, we must understand this is an American owned company. For the same reason we gave up on Trivia. Our cabin 140 on deck 9 was a disappointment. It was past being tired, it was exhausted and it was dominated by a four seater settee in dark brown vinyl that most likely could fold out into a bed. It looked like a refugee from a Salvation Army charity shop. But get this. Its unwanted presence in our tiny space now placed us in a Vista Suite which raised our gratuities to $16.00 U.S per day per person. The redeeming feature was the large covered balcony. Our total gratuity bill was around the equivalent of $1,100 Australian dollars. To the rest of the world that pays a livable wage to all workers this is a hangover from the days of the 18th century English Poorhouse where the poor were dependent on charity to survive. Meals in the Rotterdam dining room were very good, and while we avoid the rugby scrum of the buffet we were forced there when the dining room was closed. The food was surprisingly good. staff were better than good, they were wonderful. Entertainment was soloists such as a guy playing the flute while jumping all over the stage, a magician, a girl playing the piano accordion etc etc. And get this one. One evenings entertainment was a nature movie with the ship's talented musicians playing mood music. There were lots of complaints when usually the best nights entertainment is the crew, was relegated to 11.00pm. the Cruise Director known as K.K was the best we have ever seen. So here is the bottom line. We enjoyed this cruise and we love so much about HAL. Our 20 per cent discounting of the marketing hype was about right for the ship in general, but we should have discounted the cabin by 30 per cent. ps The guest lecturers saved us from being bored to death. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a ... Read More
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a outside cabin and a few days before we left we’re given a free upgrade to a balcony suite.woopee. Embarkation was as smooth as we had come to expect,this was our 6th HAL cruise and we were on board and enjoying lunch by 1.30pm. Cabin was great,level 9 forward. Nice size plenty of space and storage. HAL might want to upgrade the tv as the sets are getting a bit old. Quickly slipped into a routine. Cabin stewards introduced themselves that day and as usual greeted us by name thereafter. A few sea days in the cruise but days went quickly between talks workshops trivia etc. Blessed by good seas and weather throughout. The 3 excursions we went on ran like clockwork. The islands we visited were interesting and in most part beautiful. The colour of the water wow. Friendly locals. No complaints at all. Really appreciated the Mariners presentation and lunch. It’s just one of the things that HAL do that puts them above others in my opinion. It was only a 14 day cruise but we covered nearly 4000 nautical miles. Would recommend to anyone especially those thinking about doing a long voyage to test their ability to manage sea days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist ... Read More
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist were hilarious. You can't top the Lincoln Center players. Met lots of people on the promenade deck-a great way to keep fit after all the delicious food. Had all breakfastsand dinners in the dining room, more civilized. Milford Sound and the trip through the fjords was worth the trip. The excursions were really good-did 3 ship and 2 private tours. All guides and drivers excellent. The visit to the Maori Marae in Tauranga was really interesting. The culture and history of New Zealand was fascinating. Crew and itinerary made for a wonderful 2 weeks,. Not sure what all the complaints are about. Be glad you can travel. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and ... Read More
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and I prefer a cruise that has its concentration of days at sea at the end of the cruise, so I return to work rested. SHIP - Our "J" category rooms were HUGE! This ship is scheduled for dry-dock in September, so I don't know if these rooms will remain as is. For this longer cruise length, we loved the extra room - without the extra price. In general, this ship needs an update, but obviously, Holland America already knows this. Although I found the decor dated, and a few spots were showing wear, the ship was spotless. I also think the arrangement of some of the public areas could be modernized - especially the gym and the buffet areas which would benefit from more square footage and more glass area. I would like to see the buffet area have glass along the entire front of the ship with doors directly leading to the deck, rather than locating service areas between the buffet & the lido deck. GYM - This area needs serious work. To attract the younger, more fitness-crazed generations, HAL needs modern equipment, and contemporary classes. This was also one of the few areas where you were forced to pay extra for pretty much anything worthwhile. I think HAL should try to be the first ship at sea to offer Bodypump classes - that would be a huge hit! The gym needs to remain open until at least 10:00 - 11:00 would be better. They closed at 9:00 reportedly to preserve quiet for those sleeping on the floor below. However, HAL did not have this same concern for those of us on Deck 1 whose rooms were under the BB King Lounge, which played well after 10:00 (which did not keep me up, so I doubt use of the gym after 9:00 would keep floor 9 guests awake either). Equipment in the gym was OLD! They only had 2 rowing machines - one broke on day 2 and was never repaired. And, if ANY machine should face the sea, it should be the rowing machines, which they didn't. FOOD - Amazing. Simply great. Service, quality, quantity, variety, everything was more than we could have asked for. My only complaint was the Russian Roulette for tables you played every morning in the buffet. Guests got visibly angry trying to find a table. Hopefully HAL will expand seating at their buffet when they refurbish the Noordam. SERVICE - Amazing! From the room stewards, to the dining, to the wine stewards, to the bar attendants to the front desk - these employees exude joy and positive service. How HAL keeps employees customer focused and joyful, when they live and work in such close quarters for 8 months at a time, should be the subject of a TED talk. I really admire what they have achieved. We brought a group of 30 customers for a wine focused tour. We had 3, private, wine events during our days at sea. We were BLOWN AWAY by the elegance of the service, and the expertise of their Director of Wine. Far exceeded expectations. ACTIVITIES - This needs work. Activities are uninspired. I have lots of suggestions for things HAL could offer that would modernize their cruises, without alienating their core customer base. Too long for this review. HAL: Contact me! I figure I can easily raise your per/person income by $100 by simply changing up your on-board offerings. Evening entertainment was sub-par with the exception of Daniel on the piano bar. My husband and I love to dance - especially swing. We never got the chance. The only faster paced music played in a venue with a dance floor, was the "Disco Bar" which got going at 10:30 pm. There was the BB King lounge, which offered our, slow blues music most nights. We are used to several lounges offering danceable music at times from early evening to midnight and beyond on other cruises we have taken. Really missed that. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. ... Read More
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. Bathroom was tired. Mirror, vanity and tub/shower needed replacement. Verandah railings, floor and window frames were on their last legs. Furniture and walls were old and damaged. TV was tiny and old. We read that Noordam is due for refit later this year and it’s needed. Condition of the ship was compensated by HAL’s well-earned reputation for good food, great staff and interesting itineraries. Main hope is HAL and other cruise lines understand that wifi is no longer a luxury for passengers and everyone should at least have access to a limited number of free minutes. The cruise lines that join the 21st century first will get the business. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be HAL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and ... Read More
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and service (except for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, even after complaining because they didn’t seem to care) was excellent. Shore excursions were all good but very expensive. Embarkation took too long (over an hour) but debarkation was a breeze - best ever. There wasn’t much to do onboard, especially on sea days. Mainly test kitchen offerings, if you like that. A couple of the entertainers were poor (ventriloquist and singer) but others were good (singers and dancers) or great (comedian, pianist). They offered a Lincoln Center Stage venue and the musicians were outstanding - that was an unexpected surprise we enjoyed. The other negative was they closed the ship stores during the last week to get it ready for a new opening (not sure why) so almost no merchandise even before closing - not good. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The Service and quality of food on this ship was excellent!! We didn't make use of the Casino as that's not our thing. There were plenty of bars and areas to sit and read or just relax. We mostly ate in the Main Dining room or had room service. We sat in the open dining on Deck 7 on the Port side and our waiter Imam & Wine Steward Iyvette were both lovely and looked after us very well. We enjoyed the Burgers at the Dive In Burger Bar on the Lido Deck.We did our sums and decided to take our own Wine on board as we weren't prepared to pay $827Usd each for a drinks package and we are so glad we didn't. We bought 13 bottles of Wine and 1 of Champagne on board and paid the $18Usd Corkage on 12 of them and it was still much cheaper to do this than get 2 drinks packages. We only had a couple of beers during the day from time to time and drank wine with our dinner each evening and occasionally in our room and had a cocktail/beer after dinner a few times plus the odd coffee - with the cost of our Alcohol purchased before boarding and all other drinks we still only spent about $650Usd. We made use of the free water refill at the Lido bar. The Itinerary was fabulous as we got to see parts of Australia we had never visited before and the parts we loved we will visit again. We haven't cruised a lot before and found the continuous up selling a bit annoying but you can always say no. The entertainment was just ok. We spoke to some people who said it was average and others who thought it was ok. We didn't do any shore excursions as we have been to some of the places and hired a car and did our own thing in other places so I cant comment other then to say we thought they were expensive. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was my fifth cruise. First time with HAL. Booked at last minute due to price and itinerary. Booked a guarantee VH verandah cabin and received a VC cabin on deck 5. Very happy with cabin. Loved that the cabin came with full ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise. First time with HAL. Booked at last minute due to price and itinerary. Booked a guarantee VH verandah cabin and received a VC cabin on deck 5. Very happy with cabin. Loved that the cabin came with full length bathrobes and Ellis products and bar fridge that actually worked. Bed very comfy and stewards worked hard to keep cabin spotless. Aircon worked well. Had early dinner most nights in MDR. Food was tasty and hot and service was exemplary from all staff. Had breakfast in the MDR twice. Food was great but service was not on first visit. 2nd time it was much better. Lido deck buffet had lots of healthy options which was great. Often took my food out to the tables next to the lido deck pool as I found the aircon in the buffet area too cool. Service in lido buffet was always friendly and efficient. I didn't go to many of the shows but I went to all the informative talks in the vista lounge on subjects related to the areas we were cruising. War History in PNG, Sociology in the Pacific, talk from a reef pilot. All very interesting. Some parts of the ship were cold from the aircon especially midship and the vista lounge. Make sure you pack a light throw or some similar. Average age was 60 upwards. I am a decade younger and had a lovely time. Everyone was friendly. There was only about a dozen kids on board. They seemed to be having fun in the pool. I did a spin class in the gym and was impressed. Great instructor and equipment. I didn't use the pool much as it was too warm. 30c most days. Felt more like a warm bath. $20 bag of laundry was excellent value. Came back next day. I liked the feel of this ship. With 1900 passengers it never felt crowded. Tenders ran smoothly and there was never much of a wait. We visited PNG and FNQ. All ports were interesting. Pre-booked quite a few ship tours. Also did a private tour and explored on my own or with friends met on board. All went smoothly. Apart from the pool, I have no complaints and would book the Noordam again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Of fourteen cruises this was my third with HAL. It was nice to renew our acquaintance after a five year hiatus. I'm happy to say that HAL have maintained their high standard, mostly. More on that later. We came down to Sydney by ... Read More
Of fourteen cruises this was my third with HAL. It was nice to renew our acquaintance after a five year hiatus. I'm happy to say that HAL have maintained their high standard, mostly. More on that later. We came down to Sydney by train and four of us took a taxi from Central to White Bay. I was amazed at how much luggage space was available in the hybrid Toyota, it all went in the back, no bags on laps. Fare was $30 which I thought was reasonable but not so much when then return fare, White Bay to Central, was only $25! Hmmm. The return was a quicker trip as it was early morning. On arrival at the terminal we checked our bags and joined the queue which looked long but didn't take to long to get through, about 30 minutes and we were aboard. Room was ready. We, my friend Tony and I, had requested twin beds but found a double made up. We pointed this out to our room attendant and it was quickly fixed. Unusually, I had trouble orienting myself when moving about the ship. I think the lack of an atrium such as on X Solstice and Ovation OTS may have something to do with it. The decor, altough tasteful and in good condition, was not to my liking- too much brown, bronze and gold made for a drab interior. Others may like it but it seems dated. Meals. First thing I noticed in MDR was that there were fewer choices compered to my previous HAL experience. HAL is not alone in this regard. What was pleasing was the food standard was still as high as I remembered. Almost but not quite up to that of Celebrity, I recall only one dud meal in MDR, a chicken linguini with basil and tomato sauce and some crispy thing that wasn't crispy. The pasta sauce was totally lacking in flavour, basil or tomato, but the chicken was ok. We ate all dinners in MDR except for three nights when we ate in the specialty restaurants. The first was a birthday dinner in Pinnacle grill. There were four of us. I ordered a honey glazed pork chop as a main, the others had steaks, I wish I had too. The pork chop was overcooked, tasteless and chewy. Everything else was good, appetisers and desserts. The next was Rudi's Sal de Mare. This was excellent. Wonderful seafood courses and all cooked to perfection. Only problem was we had trouble finishing it all. By the time dessert came we were all pretty full then had to front up to a pile of profiteroles covered with chocolate sauce and ice cream, There was also crepe suzettes which were yummy. The final night was in Cannaletto's for my 70th. Excellent Italian food and presentation with portions just right. With the exception of the first sea day, when we had breakfast in the MDR, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido buffet. No self serve but food was freshly cooked and served by staff. Very little wastage and a lot less temptation to overload your plate. Less chance of spreading bugs too. Lots of variety to suit all tastes. Our group of four generally ate breakfast late (too late for MDR)cdue to Tony, a late riser, and the other two who liked pre breakfast walks and gym sessions. I just went with the flow. Entertainment, This is the first cruise where I have not tried to attend every show. Our usual ritual was 7pm trivia after which we would then have dinner. The late shows were at 10 and sometimes clashed with other performances such as piano and strings in the Lincoln Centre or BB Kings or the piano bar. I did catch the comedian one night and country singer Patrick McMahon was great, both nights. Have seen him on a previous cruise. Although the HAL band was good I it lacked a brass section. This would have given it a lot more presence. Guest speekers were interesting and topical. We booked a couple of ship tours, In Alotau we did a Milne Bay cruise with a historical commentary which was interesting and informative. I was able to relate what I have read, about the Japanese attack, to the geography/topography of the area, It was here that the Japanese suffered their first WW2 defeat on land. After that we went on a cultural tour and learnt about the way of life and customs of the PNG people in this area. For the island visits we went ashore and snorkelled and generally relaxed. Exception was the Conflict Islands. What a beautiful place this is. A Coral Sea atoll of twenty one islands with a marine research facility. The owner, Ian Gowrie-Smith, has set up a turtle conservation facility. He has an agreement with Carnival that allows their ships to visit and this helps fund the facility. It was here that I found the best snorkelling I've ever seen, absolutely beautiful and unspoiled in comparison to other islands where the coral is suffering degradation from the reef shoes and too many people We had booked an outrigger sailing cruise but this was cancelled due to lack of wind. For the Australian ports of Gladstone, Cairns, Airlie Beach and Brisbane I did my own thing. I did a little geocaching which gives me exercise and takes me to out-of-the-way places tourists mostly miss. Tendering at Yorkey's Knob, Cairns is the pits. Takes up so much time although I never had any problems getting on the tenders due to crowds. I can recommend the Cairns Aquarium, well worth a couple of hours there. Airlie Beach is much different to when I was last here, about thirty five years ago. They tell me the place is usually full of backpackers but maybe the season was over as there weren't too many about. Or perhaps they only come out at night. Lots of cafes and restaurants. In Brisbane I spent a relaxing day at my sisters' and spent some time with her five grandchildren, four girls and one boy aged between five and eleven. That was fun. All good things come to an end and we were back in Sydney having missed the cyclones but got the tail end of the Sydney storms. Disembarkation was on a Saturday. Saturday is when I windsurf and my club was having a post race Xmas BBQ so I decided I would try and make it back to Newcastle in time. I self disembarked by not putting my bag out the night before and just walking off when I was ready, Shared a taxi to central and was on the train heading north at 8.18. Would I cruise with HAL again, sure, if the itinerary looks good and the ports are interesting. I forgot to mention the one change I noticed in HAL's standards. Dressing for dinner. It's now a lot less formal than it was. On my first HAL cruise I didn't have a jacket for gala night so the Maitre d provided me with one. I didn't have to wear it, just hung it on the back of my chair. Some consider the casualisation of dinner attire a backward step but for me, I'm fine with it. I wear neat jeans or slacks with a collared shirt, or sometimes a bright Hawaiin shirt. No problem. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Holland America Line only does this cruise once yearly, and I've looked a it for 5 years, ALWAYS over American Thanksgiving or Christmas. This year they snuck it in between the two, so I jumped on it! It is definitely a tropical ... Read More
Holland America Line only does this cruise once yearly, and I've looked a it for 5 years, ALWAYS over American Thanksgiving or Christmas. This year they snuck it in between the two, so I jumped on it! It is definitely a tropical vacation, much like a South Sea Isles, without the foreign languages. Paupua New Guinea kept going from good to better to amazing, then Conflict Islands, WOAH! Each and every port had some amazing choices for shore excursions for those of us who had never been to this part of the world before. Since I still work and can only get a few weeks off at a time, I flew to Sidney 2 days early to get my bearings. The Four Seasons where HAL put us up was lovely and withing footsteps of The Rocks, lots of eating and drinking, and not far walking from the Opera House and Inner Harbor. The HOHO bus left from across the street, so a fine place for sightseeing the whole city. Our ship left from "the other harbor" (Port Jackson) which I'm happy it did. The sailaway was incredible under the Harbor bridge and past the Opera House. I had a starboard side balcony, and it was glorious that morning. It is one of the most beautiful of my lifetime. I was in a SY cabin, 8083, rattled around in there by myself, but if I upgraded to it, they threw in 2 nights Sydney, a Meet & Greet dinner and tour of the opera house (which was excellent) and all transfers for free. It paid for itself, and having a jetted tub and shower was great for those days I hiked up hills in PNG to get the very best views of the islands. The ship was impecabbly clean, crew was constantly working to keep it so. She is due for a refurbishment in 2019, and parts are showing wear, so a pass. I did notice the upgraded Lincoln Center Stage is now enclosed since last time I sailed her, and the music acoustics was excellent! The 5 musicians, all Scandinavian put their hearts & soul into each piece, everything from Edvard Grieg to Dave Matthews Band! The place to be each evening was the BB Kings Club, dancing and singing. Did not hit the single piano bar on this sailing, though I usually do, so many other choices in entertainment on board. Both of the BBC Earth presentations in the showrooom were standing room only. I didn't attend the other presentations there, but heard from others they were enjoyable. Only ate in the MDR once, my schedule was so busy with wonderful EXC shore excursions, Martini Tastings (with David and Yoko) at 6:00pm nightly, and many nights in specialty restaurants with new friends. Other nights the Lido just seemed to have the same offerings in half the time. All of the food was tasty, hot, beautifully presented in MDR and Sel de Mer, Canaletto & Pinnacle. By the time I returned home that evening, the recipe for what I had eaten at Sel de Mer was on my pillow with some chocolates. That was a special meal for SURE!What I enjoy about the LIDO is being able to say "a really small slice of lamb, I'm a light eater," because by dinner I'm not really hungry. There were excellent enrichment programs on board this sailing, in additional to the usual, Aboriginal Marlon gave his informative talks in the Queens Lounge about his culture, WWII history about Milne Bay's importance, History of the Conflict Islands and what to do there. First day at PNG in the Explorer's Lounge there was exchange for PNG Kina (the only currency they use on these tiny islands) and postcards and stamps to mail things home. HAL thought of it all. I am NOT a Day at Sea person. There were TWO in a row on this cruise and I was a afraid I'd be climbing the walls.I finished two books, it was HOT, too hot to be out on my balcony too much. I almost did climb the walls, except that I discovered Martini Tastings, 3 small glasses, about 12 people around a convivial bar in the Atrium, and fun bar games. We learned to make a few new drinks, never really got too tipsy, but met new friends, and seriously AUSTRALIANS are FUN!!!! David was one of the most fun bartenders HAL has out there. The ports were in a excellent order, in my humble opinion. GLADSTONE: This was first time the Noordam had ever called there. Granted it was a Sunday and NOTHING was open, they rolled out the food trucks and made it a fun day for us. There was a huge street fair waiting for those who just walked off the ship. I caught the ceremony the city gave for the Captain and Officers. There was a kilted bagpipe band, dancers, Aboriginal thanking the ancestors, short talks by both parties. The HOHO vans had really nowhere to go, because everywhere was shuttered for the day, except hotel restaurants & shops. ALOTUA, PNG: The largest of the Islands and most citified. People were everywhere, very busy town. The ship parked quite far from the town center & market, but taxis were plentiful and not expensive I was told. 2 dance groups were on the pier with in traditional costume, many people were filming, paying a bit and talking to leaders in English. I took a shore excursion for a Clay Pot Cooking Class at the Masurina Lodge. It was FANTASTIC! Tables were arranged for us outside, we learned the types of yams, bananas, and other vegetables & spices they use in cooking, prepared the pots with, then toured a small WWII museum of artifacts. When it was ready we sat together and enjoyed the fruits of our labor. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Alotua. KIRIWANA: This lovely island we tendered in to a nicely laid out beach full of stands where the natives sold their goods. There is a food stall in the middle to buy drinks and a few food items, but I didn't try it. Lots of people want to show you the island, but plenty of signs to show you the way. Not much in the way of beach chairs or mats, but lots of shade to the both sides off the tender pier. Bring what you need from the ship. Be willing to barter a bit. Save some Kina for tomorrow! Take a boat ride if you dare, the boats are sturdier on Kitava. KITAVA: Island Paradise! Clear water, bring a snorkle. Beach chairs to rent far to the left off the pier. You can walk in and see the coral and fish here, it is the best of the 3 islands of this PNG group. You can hike up to Captain Cameron's grave (5 Kina to go inside), worth the hike, the view is spectacular. There is another small island off the island, and for 10 Kina you have get a boat to take out out and drop you off, hopefully bring you back. Talk about deserted island! I'll try to post the pic! CONFLICT ISLANDS: Exceptional stop. The main island is a wanderers paradise. Yes, there are rooms, where I assume there were guests staying. There was a huge converted tuna processor, now a glass bottom boat. I took the Beach Picnic Shorex. Walked across the island boarded a Zodiac like skiff that took us to a larger, maybe 40 ft pleasure craft, drove us to a small, deserted island, where the skiff again met us, took our gear to shore, in twos. Beach chairs in the shade, pre-ordered picnic coolers with drinks, water, blankets, utinsils, everything needed for hours of absolute peace and quiet. At the prescribed time, our skiff returned us to the bigger boat for the return trip. I then went to the TURTLE RESCUE, which wasn't much to see, but very informative. The release of our own little guy/gal Crush was so envigorating, I wept a little, hoping he would survive and prosper in the wild. YORKEYS KNOB/CAIRNS: Unintended port for me, I changed my Great Barrier Reef excursion to go to the rainforest on the Kuranda Rail, and it was great! Exciting piece of history, with a tour guide in each rail car. Ours was really funny, and the narrative was historic and interesting. We stopped a few places for photos of the waterfalls befor arrival at the town. A few hours there, then return on the Skytrain, a cableway over the amazing rainforest to the forest floor, and a short bus back to the ship. ARLIE BEACH: Here the Whitsunday Island Tours boat picked us up right off the ship and took us out to the Great Barrier Reef dive platform to snorkle the Reef. It was a long, wavy trip and they were quite prepared with seasick bags, patches, pills and help for anyone experiencing symptoms. They served a delightful tea service, hearty lunch, and snack on the way back. We were outfitted with EVERYTHING, from stinger suits, snorkle gear, fins, everything except sunscreen and swimsuits. It as a great day, although I could have done without the sea swells, but that wasn't their fault, and they did everything RIGHT to handle that. BRISBANE: Beautiful Brisbane. Wish I had more time here. Took the excursion to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, it was much more. We toured the city both ways, seeing the highlights, spending about two hours at the sanctuary. It took about an hour in line to actually HOLD a koala, and $35 AUD for photos. Then paid $2 aud to buy kangaroo food and went into the enclosure where there were SO many roos, and you could be there as long as you wanted. I spent the rest of the time there! This was a wonderful itinerary for any Australia virgins. I will go back when I have more time after retirement. I thought the flights would be more grueling, but Delta flies the Boeing 777, which makes a huge difference in jet lag, that circulation system is amazing! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Background and embarkation We chose this cruise as we had been to New Guinea only once and the ports appeared interesting. and it has been on our list for some time. The other reason for choosing this cruise being to experience the ... Read More
Background and embarkation We chose this cruise as we had been to New Guinea only once and the ports appeared interesting. and it has been on our list for some time. The other reason for choosing this cruise being to experience the Noordam, we had previously cruised on her sister ship “Oosterdam”, a ship we were quite fond of, so we were eager to revisit this class of HAL ship again. We stayed overnight in Sydney at Novotel Darling Harbour Square, we are Accor members and we received a great online deal from them, so we duly chose to stay there at an excellent tariff. We managed to score a newly renovated room with a view of the Chinese Gardens, quite a large room, with a comfortable bed and firm pillow, all the mod cons, friendly staff, we would stay again. Next morning, we were able to walk up to the Captain Cook wharf in Darling Harbour, buy tickets and we were ferried over to White Bay. HAL had hired a bus to drop people off and pick people up at the ferry wharf, very thoughtful indeed HAL. There were two ships at White Bay that day, HAL Noordam at the terminal, and P&O Explorer (previously Dawn Princess) tied up nearer the ferry wharf with a large marquee set up to disembark and embark passengers. We are 3-star mariners with HAL, after the suite, 4- and 5-star mariners registered for embarkation we were next to provide all our details to terminal staff to embark. 15 minutes later we were on the ship and in our room. We had ordered some drinks for our consumption in the room, not all had arrived as ordered, after a call to room service, not even 10 minutes late the drinks arrived. My wife’s bag arrived in the interim, however, not mine. My wife unpacked and after an hour and a half later I heard someone drop something near our door, I quickly opened the door to see someone scurrying down the corridor after they had dropped my bag off with the top handle hanging off one end, and one wheel broken. I took some pictures for evidence, that were date stamped, and a few days later took the bag down to Guest Services. Young Jay took down all the details in an incident reports after I showed him the pictures and brought the bag down. He said they would fix it if possible, and bring the bag back to us in a few days. He did just that, the bag appeared to be fixed, however, I did warn him that if a wheels and handles are broken, 99% of the time they will break again. After we disembarked, we claimed our bags, and my bag had a wheel broken, it was reported to the terminal staff and a report was alleged to be sent to HAL for compensation, to date (7-1-2019) we have had no communication from HAL at all in relation to the broken bag!! Ship information The ship is not new obviously, however, the ship has been kept in very good condition overall, the artefacts are excellent, the public areas are spacious overall, with many separate areas to be seated. It felt like an ocean liner, not a cruise ship, don’t alter it too much HAL, many people still like this type of ship as it stands/sails. Well done HAL, the public areas are clean and well maintained, the restaurants were in good condition, and the external condition of the ship and teak decks were good. Teak chairs on the promenade deck are still intact, another big tick for HAL. The library is huge, excellent choice of books, coffee shop seating is very limited, perhaps they can enlarge the seating area, and shrink the library by 10 square metres. Crows Nest at front of the ship on deck 10 is magic, don’t change it HAL, it is a fantastic area, with a breathtaking view. Activities The activities were various as they are on other lines, we attended several lectures about what had occurred in WW2 in New Guinea, they were very informative and interesting. We didn’t attend trivia this time, so not sure how good it was on this ship. However, there seemed to be a large varied of activities each day outlined on the daily program. Service Main negative was the relatively ordinary service of our two cabin stewards. There were no cards with their names in the room, until the last 4 days, after we gave them 3 chances to redeem themselves. One of them introduced himself the next day, and said he had a partner helping him with cleaning and maintaining the room. This man appeared to be invisible until he introduced himself 3 days later. They made the bed every morning, and cleaned the bathroom, turned the bed down in the evening, and provide towel animals and 2 chocolates every night. We left notes on at least 4 occasions to vacuum the floor, provide soap, as we had 2 sinks, a bath and a shower, and replace moisturiser, baths salts, shower cap, and clean the bench tops in main cabin area. With 4 days to go to the end of the cruise we were over it, we complained to guest services, this was cruise number 44, and these men were seriously the worst ever, and we were in a suite, they are supposed to be the best staff who would have been promoted, well not these guys. There were several rooms vacant on this cruise that they did not have to service, we think they were very lazy indeed. Most people that were in their service area were interviewed it would appear by the assistant Head Housekeeper and his offsider. They spoke to us about the problems around midday. We informed them that our room would normally not have been serviced by then, although in the defence of the room stewards; they serviced our room the second and third days when we left the service our room card in the door key slot outside. We did that every day, in the morning and in the evening when we went to dinner. On more than one occasion we told them that we were leaving the room and could they service it while we were away, that didn’t occur on the majority of occasions, sometimes it wasn’t serviced until after 1 pm, and after 9 pm several times when we returned from dinner. Service improved last 3 days after we had complained, one of them apologised, however, only on one occasion did he call me by name, he did not call my wife by name at any stage, nor did the other steward call me by name of my wife, this was the first time in 44 cruises that this had occurred. It would appear from the slack and poor service most of the cruise that they did not respect us, as we always used their name each time, we spoke to them, however, that was not reciprocal from them, and it would appear they thought they would “get away with it’ not cleaning the room properly each time, or at all on some occasions. Lastly, our balcony was filthy dirty for the first 4 days, when we left notes on day 4 to vacuum, we also asked them to clean the balcony, they did on that occasion. However, they slacked off again one day later, so we left notes every day for jobs to be done, to leave a shower cap, moisturiser, whatever, actually they received 6,7, 8 chances, strike 9 you are out!! Well on the band wagon and back to other staff, client services staff overall were good on this cruise, on Zaandam in late January, February 2018 in South America and Antarctica they were extremely rude and not accommodating with just about everything. That was sorted, when we received an apologetic email from the CEO’s executive assistant some weeks after we came home, we were impressed with that. It was refreshing to see both female and male staff on the counter at guest services, Zaandam were all female and they weren’t being managed well, so rude to many of the passengers they thought they would not be challenged, well they were wrong. Jay was a standout, he was extremely polite and very helpful and knowledgeable on every occasion, as was two other males who we spoke to, and two females. Only one downside, one female who we submitted a form with, it would appear did not submit the form for entry in the computer. We checked on the last night with a male staff member and he stated they had no record if it, then he entered the information manually. On the whole they actually solved problems, were not over assertive, or aggressive, as some others were on Zaandam, they do not try to dismiss your problem, and hope you go away! Restaurant staff were really quite good, standout was Dani, one of the men at the door who allocated tables, every night he tried his best to meet our needs, well done Dani. We ate lunch in the restaurant on several occasions and had breakfast twice in the restaurant, it was easier to eat in the Lido, as we walk every morning, and restaurant opening times did not suit. We were very impressed with Luis, the Bar and Restaurant Manager, he spoke with us on two occasions, he is very professional and “hands on”, a breath of fresh air to HAL, we know he had extensive experience with several cruise lines in a similar role, this man innovative, opened the restaurant for lunch on a port day, loved it, he is visible in the restaurant on almost every night, be speaks to staff on the run discreetly, he is the best we have seen in the last 10 years on any cruise line, keep this man and ask him to train many like him, he is the best! Farid, and many other waiters were good, and others were improving throughout the cruise thanks to Luis coaching and mentoring them. Staff in Lido, both cooks, chefs, food servers and wait staff were nearly always very helpful, courteous, and went out of their way to assist people, serve drinks, coffee, and tea, well done people! Nica, was a standout for me, she went down to the galley to find breakfast cereal for us, as they had run out of the cereal we like with fibre, she was fantastic. Food in the Lido, was very good, huge improvement from MSC Divina, food was bland, cold, and very little variety. Not on HAL so much variety, so many stations where food is cooked fresh, Asian/Indian food in Lido is outstanding at lunch on most days. Officers seemed friendly, and noticeable around the ship. Engineering and maintenance staff appeared to be were always working hard to maintain the ship, well done! Bar stewards in restaurant and Lido were overall really good, Liany, Jeycel, Kurt, who served us mainly, were really knowledgeable, friendly, and on the ball, well done people! Overall, apart from a few the majority of HAL staff on Noordam are quite good. Just a suggestion to HAL, we have found room stewards from the Philippines to be the best, very friendly, courteous, respectful, very efficient and effective in their roles. Port & shore excursions We enjoyed the excursion in Airlie Beach to the Crocodile Safari, Proserpine River. Very informative, educational, adventurous, great BBQ lunch, we would recommend it. Cabin We booked a balcony cabin originally, however the cruise was heavily discounted by HAL a few months prior to leaving, out travel agent asked HAL for an upgrade and we received an upgrade to a signature suite. Cabin was very large as was the balcony, overall it was in good condition. Large lounge, two large comfortable chairs, very small older TV, bed was very comfortable, pillows could have been firmer, however ok. Bathroom is little dated, however, was in good condition. Cabin had a bath and a shower, horrible shower curtain, please HAL invest in a safety glass shower door, similar to HAL Koningsdam, best shower and bathroom on the seas, to date! Balcony was very dirty, was cleaned after we complained on day 4 why had they not cleaned it, they put cushions out each day, surely, they noticed. Balcony when finally, cleaned and habitable, was really large, included a table and two chairs and two large cane chairs, large cane foot stools, and a small table for drinks. Dining Due largely to the new Bar and Restaurant Manager, Luis, the staff in the restaurant, in Lido, and bar staff were very good. Breakfast menu in the restaurant is comprehensive, very good, food quality is good, and meals are warm to hot. Lunch variety in the menus are limited, however, on the several occasions we went to lunch in the restaurant we found the food to be of good quality, and worth the decision to attend. Lunch on a port day was a great innovation, need to advertise it more, moist people didn’t notice it was open. HAL please open the restaurant at lunch longer than one-hour midday to 1 pm, most people eat between 12.30 pm and 2 pm, be a bit more flexible! We attended the main restaurant for dinner every night. The variety and quality of the food was very good, I was very pleased to see surf and turf on the last formal night menu, thanks HAL don’t take it off the menu, it was a very tasty meal indeed! Best barramundi I have eaten on any ship, coated in crushed macadamia nuts, with excellent accompaniments, wow! Lido food for breakfast is very good, smoked salmon is presented beautifully, and is delicious with freshly cooked eggs, or omelettes, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, English bacon etc, well done HAL Noordam. Good variety of breakfast cereal, Aussie milk and yoghurts, fresh fruit, pancakes, it is fantastic, more seating on some days as peak time is sometimes a problem, anyway, not insurmountable. Lunch in Lido had freshly made Asian and Indian food, different menu each day, in our opinion, it is the best fresh served food on any ship anywhere in the world, it is delicious, hot and the food service is fast and vey efficient. Pasta station is also very good, mainly fresh food and tasty, pizza is tasty, however, could HAL have a special pizza every day, for variety and the taste buds please. Turkey, sandwiches, potato chips, salads, desserts, and beautiful ice cream every day is a delight, we loved Lido food. Dinner was not as good, variety not quite up to normal standards, we didn’t eat dinner thee, however we looked each night to see what was available. However, improve dinner variety and Lido will be best buffet at sea! We like the Dive In burgers and chips, and the Mexican food, if kept away from the heat, and insects. The burgers were better on Zaandam, perhaps the cooks were better, our burgers were overcooked, otherwise tasted ok. Entertainment Most guest entertainers that we managed to see were good. The ship entertainment group had some very good singers amongst them, we watched one show, it was very entertaining. The BBC wildlife video accompanied by the orchestra and violins was magnificent. Lincoln stage was reported to be magic, we weren’t able to reach the performance on time as we had dinner, shame, we hear it was well worth it. Disembarkation No problem, we waited for our allotted number and colour and disembarked, found our bags. My bag had a wheel broken, again, as I indicated earlier in this report, we reported it to terminal staff, incident report sent to HAL, HAL yet to respond. Summary Apart cabin staff issues that didn’t end well for them, we had a very enjoyable time. The ship was in reasonable condition, great artefacts and venues, many of the dining staff and the food quality in restaurant and Lido venues and the menus won the day overall for us. We will return to HAL again we booked a cruise in January on Noordam, so here we go again! One major issue for HAL, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity have service/gratuities included in their cruise costs, don’t add them on every day, they are in $US dollars and it takes the shine off everyone’s’ holiday experience. Alcoholic beverages are outrageously priced, all cruise lines buy these beverages at less than duty free prices. Sure, you need to make a profit, not a killing on beverages, provide reasonable prices onboard, and reduce the prices of all drinks please. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on ... Read More
Enjoyed H.A.L some time ago and decided to join friends on this 12 night cruise around New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. Most of the cruise en counted bad weather for the time of yearn around New Zealand. Well we never got to land on Norfolk Island , the swells too big, a shame but nothing you can do to change that. The ship has H.A.L. new E.X.C. ,we were not a fan of this as it cuts done the amount of entertainment on the ship. Staff told us this is the only ship in the fleet with EXC and it appeals to limited folk from what we heard from others. The ship had only 972 on board this cruise and as it takes 1250 , tender times were good for the most part. Entertainment was very limited and some sub standard.The Cruise Director seemed to do everything with no helpers. The ship is old , but staff excellent in all departments. Our first cabin 545 had so many noises (sounded like steel on steel in the outside wall) we could not sleep.We were moved to 555 , this also had unacceptable noise ! We were then shifted to 556 which was fine apart from the shower control. Dining Room and Buffet both had cheerful and excellent staff as was the cabin staff.. Not 5 star by any mean,s , not even a fridge in the cabin, however the ship is kept clean and tidy by the crew at all times (with a smile) Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We cannot travel far from home at the moment due to family commitments so the 12 day around NZ was ideal. The boarding in Auckland was the easiest I have ever done and basically we just walked onboard with a few ID checks and the key card ... Read More
We cannot travel far from home at the moment due to family commitments so the 12 day around NZ was ideal. The boarding in Auckland was the easiest I have ever done and basically we just walked onboard with a few ID checks and the key card issuance. The ship was not full, about 900 passengers when she will take 1200, so there was a real feeling of space. We stayed in the Neptune 043 suite and loved it - heaps of room, a balcony to die for and nicely appointed throughout. This also gave us access to the Neptune Lounge, which I initially doubted we would use much, but as it turned out we became addicted to our quiet time in there with a decent cup of coffee and some nice snacks. It also came in handy when work intruded on the holiday and I needed something printed out and then scanned - this was the easiest I have ever managed to do this at sea. The food was of good standard - although a bit cold at times in the LIdo, service was faultless throughout and the activities were all well organised. The only criticism is that they seemed to be 'short' an act or two; there was no main production troupe so no dance shows and a couple of the entertainers they had were asked to do two or more shows, and quite frankly their material was not strong enough for this. Despite this, we felt entertained (mostly) and there was a really happy, friendly feel to the cruise, all the passengers were smiling and always ready for a chat over food, and the trivia teams were always happy to let others join in when they didn't have a full quota. Jonathon, the cruise director did an excellent job running these and just about any other entertainment. John in the piano bar was fabulous and the stools around his piano were always filled with people who had drunk enough to think they could sing (including us). Great fun there at night. We missed one port (Norfolk Island) due to rough weather and questions were asked as to whether ships should even go there as the success rate is not good apparently, but the captain circumnavigated it and took us off to see another island (no landing), and the tour charges were quickly refunded in full with no fuss. I would travel again on the Maasdam, she is probably not the newest ship out there but we enjoyed the layout and found everything we wanted. The shopping was a bit limited compared to others - not everyone wants high end jewellery, but this is minor and probably saved us some money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the ... Read More
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the dining room and up in Lido did not change except for thanks giving evening. One evening in the dining the Lamb shank was very good. We found the Library a very good place to past the time of day. The shops were nothing to write home about, there was one big jewellery shop with some expensive items. Easy enough to get around the ship, lifts were never overcrowded except after a show when everyone was trying to either other places on the ship or to their cabins. The Hamburger/hot Dog place on deck 11 was great for lunch thou personally I did not like all the stuff that was put on the Hot Dog, Hamburgers were great. while having your lunch on deck it was quite often hard to hear the captain talking over the speaker. This was the part of cruise were looking forward to as my wife had lived on Niue and I was to get the conducted tour, it was not to be as the captain advised it was to rough at the wharf to land. We also did not land at Rarotonga as it was to rough to get into the tenders. Vava U Tonga was great as we were able to meet up with the wife's son and delivery a case of items that they wanted. Arranging to get off the ship with the case was a hassle from the front desk staff but in the end we saw customs when they came aboard and got cleared by them. Savusavu was ok, but Suva has not changed since we were last there apart from more high rise building. Dravuni Island was the best place for snorkelling and swimming. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Having been to a few of the ports before we were excited about the prospect of visiting Norfolk Island. However we were not able tho stop at Norfolk Island and two other ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Having been to a few of the ports before we were excited about the prospect of visiting Norfolk Island. However we were not able tho stop at Norfolk Island and two other ports. Out is believed only very few shops actually get their passengers onto Norfolk Island and so many had booked this trip with the promise of visiting Norfolk Island. In my opinion this port should be deleted from their itinerary as I believe it is only used as a lure tho get passengers to book the cruise with the company knowing it is very unlikely to ever happen. Feels like a bit of a con. Our major concern though on this cruise was the lack of first aid knowledge by the first responders. It was alarming to find the first responders to a heart attack didn't know how to take a pulse, didn't effectively know CPR or how to use the defibrillator. We feel these first responders should have better first aid training and at a minimum know how to take a pulse, do effective CPR and use the defib. It was discovered from this incident that the defib machines on the ship were the very old non speaking type. Please note this is not shipboard rumour but first hand experience at the incident. We were very impressed with the standard of food in the dining room. It was a huge step up from our last Holland America cruise. Most of the onboard entertainment was excellent however there were two acts on the second part of our cruise that were appalling. The ship had been recently very tastefully refurbished. Our cabin was very comfortable. The poor condition and incompleteness of some of the board games onboard needs immediate attention. It was very frustrating trying to find complete games to play. We were also very disappointed that a gym instructor was not immediately replaced during shore leave of the original instructor. This caused some gym activities to cease because of the absence of an instructor. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I like to go to places that I have not been to, I like to go at a good price and on a good ship. This cruise delivered all three. Papeete to Auckland for 26 days. Papeete is a loooooong way from Philadelphia but we eventually got there. ... Read More
I like to go to places that I have not been to, I like to go at a good price and on a good ship. This cruise delivered all three. Papeete to Auckland for 26 days. Papeete is a loooooong way from Philadelphia but we eventually got there. We landed the night before and enjoyed Tahitian music groups outside the airport. They were there on their accord and were having a great time. We stayed at a b & b with a gracious hostess. The house was surrounded with tropical plants and loud roosters. The views to Morrea were great. Great taxis. Maasdam. The ship is in very good shape. It had a dry dock in September 2018. There was no work in progress when we boarded. The public areas were all recarpeted and were very clean. The ship is dated in places but was always pleasant. The ship holds about 1,075 but only about 925 were on board. The ship was never crowded. There is a wrap around deck that's great for walking. We did the breast cancer walk and got a t shirt. The pools were in good shape, the retractable roof was good on windy days was was impressive closed at night. Lounge chairs were generally good. The self service laundry was very good, important on a 26 day cruise. The WIFI was very expensive and very bad. No host in the computer area. You had to go to the customer service deck on another deck, and get in line for help. Their answers were generally in the try this category. The pricing was in 3 quality tiers with the higher prices promising the better chance of working.Good hot tubs. Stateroom: The stateroom were not recarpeted. Ours was clean but had seen better days. The fixtures and furniture were dated but highly functional. We did not have any problems except for a slow draining tub one night. They fix it right away. The TV was good and I watched many cds from the customer service desk. Good variety. The bed was very comfortable. I was happy with the stateroom. MDR: very good condition, beautiful. Two tiered with bg, big viewing widows. Never crowded. We never waited for a table for 2 or sharing with 4 or 6. Many times at tables at the rear windows catching sunsets. Breakfast and lunch here were excellent. Dinner fell off.There seemed to ne a cut back in the number of soups, apps, salads, entrees and esp desserts. Some things were excellent with most things being good. It met my expectations and I always enjoyed going there. Buffet. Excellent condition. Very clean. Never "really crowded". Often wide open. Breakfast was excellent with made to order blueberry pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict, fried eggs. Very good meats. Lunch was very good. Made to order sandwiches and pasta. Lack of variety. Dinner fell off. The main entrees never looked good. I would get the pasta again. The desserts were always the same No variet. Nothing ever special. Good coffee. Dive in. Poolside burgers, dogs, tacos. Really excellent. Good toppings. Very good fries. Room service: Excellent. Always on time. Hot omelets were good. Coffee specialty cafe: No brewed coffee Soda card: Very good deal, pay $25 for a $50 card. Sodas were about $2.15. This is actually a better deal than Princess. Entertainment. Almost very bad. Lounges: Music seemed ok . Dated rooms. Crows nest was good. Folk presentations. These were generally good with music and dancing from Tonga, Fiji, and the Mauri people from New Zealand Service: Throughout the ship the service was excellent. MDR, buffet, room stewarts, customer service desk, shore excursion desk, all were were excellent. We missed 3 islands due to not be able to tender. Sadly a passenger had been killed on the previous voyage between the tender and the ship. I think the captain may have been overly cautious afterwards. We missed Rarotonga,( where the accident happened) Alofi, and Norfolk island Australia The ship could be boring at times. Esp with the added seadays. Once we left Fiji and headed for Auckland the weather changed and there was not much to do. Often boring at night as the entertainment was generally bad. Vava U Tonga is very poor. We had a taxi take us aroud. Not much to see. Very hot. We went to good beach with good sand and I enjoyed the water and the fish. Good beaches are hard to find. Savusavu Fiji. Not as poor as Vava U . We went to a resort that had seen better days. Free cab as we me t the owner at the pier. Went snorkeling on the resorts boat for about 2 hrs for $25. Lots of fish. Beautiful water. Then taxied to another beach. Not good as the island is surrounded by coral and the vaves break way out from the shore This was really for wading over the coral crest but saw some interesting sea creatures. Suva Fiji. More of a larger city but still small. We were at a pier here. Wlked around. Is a hike via vechicle to other parts of the island for things to do. Dirty market. Dravuni Island Fiji. More like the advertisements. Small island, 200 people, white sandy beaches, no real waves as they break far out. Some snorkeling is possible. Coral can be sharp. Great hiking trail up the mountain for 360 degree views out over the prettiest ocean you will ever see.We sat in on the one room school class for a lesson. I think the kids have to mocve to another island when they get a little older. Nuku Alofa, Kingdom of Tonga. Nice place. This is the capital. Interesting history.Ships tour was good. Poor beaches. Good cultural show. New Zealand: Beautiful country. Nicest people. We learned many interesting things. The cruise here was 12 days with 7 stops. We wasted 3 days going to and fro and then no landing at Norfolk Island Australia. These days would have been much better going to the National Park sounds and Fjords on the south island. Glow Worm cave trip was excellent, Old growth forests, Kiwi farms, Christchurch earthquake, Rotorua thermal park, were all great. The thing I liked the most were the mountains, endless mountains, and the esturaries, bays, sounds, and harbors that the ship had to get into. Excellent. I would recommend the Maasdam for the 3 reasons I opened with: Itinerary, price, nice ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. ... Read More
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. Visiting islands via the ships tenders was an interesting experience. While the ship was of a mature age the crew and hotel staff kept in clean Our stateroom was 574 on the main deck slightly forward. We received an upgrade from the deck below. Our two cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and tidy. We asked for anytime dining in the dining room in the evening and was always able to be seated. Always asked if wanted to join others or be seated by ourselves. Personal option of the Dining room menu was sometimes good. Thanksgiving dinner good. Had Breakfast and lunch in the Lido and also dinner three or four times. Unfortunately food choices for dinner did not change except for the sweets. No dancing and the entertainment I would only give six out of ten. We did one shore excursion at Raiatea, Society Islands to visit a plantation and swim at a very nice island. We found that you had to use 8 US quarters in the washing machine and 4 quarters in the dryer. Shops on the Maasdam were nothing to write home about, big jewellery shop, If you where looking for pearls. Though you could find cheaper pearls in the island markets. Back at Papeete we received a in transit pass to get off the ship as we were on the second part of the cruise. Would I cruise with Holland America again, would depend on the itinerary but I did like the smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Loved this ship. Beautiful suite on the Rotterdam deck, which was huge and luxurious. Scrupulously keen, and the American know hoe to do wonderful service. Plenty of staff for every want and we had two stewards and two concierges. The ... Read More
Loved this ship. Beautiful suite on the Rotterdam deck, which was huge and luxurious. Scrupulously keen, and the American know hoe to do wonderful service. Plenty of staff for every want and we had two stewards and two concierges. The Neptune Lounge for people in Suites was excellent, and just added to the excellent services. Entertainment a bit patchy, and the resident dancers and singers were simply appalling. Guest entertainers were pretty good mostly. Great food very day and the night time dining was exceptional . wasn't that impressed with the Pinnacle Grill even though we could have had breakfast there every day....preferred room service, Trip was a week in various parts of Australia, and then 12 days in New Zealand. Disappointed that our time in Fiordland was reduced and spent longer in Hobart (lovely place, not a lot to do). The only disappointment was the rude, foul mouthed, deeply offensive and downright belligerent Maori Troupe on board. I was amazed that they as staff could use the guest facilities making making it impossible for paying guests to use the facilities... e.g. the spa pools on the aft deck. They lay in there for hours (one was very obese and took most of the space so his fellow troupe members were a bit squeezed in.) They made it quite clear in a foul mouthed tirade that they weren't getting out for anyone......almost if you were white you should humble yourselves before them in view of what they allege their people suffered ( all grossly untrue as I was born and raised in New Zealand, and still consider myself a New Zealander). This was a great disappointment as by and large in NZ the Maori are mostly a lovely people. Other interactions with them were just as unsettling and upsetting. I found myself wondering why there wasn't an Australian Aboriginal Troupe on board. So whilst I enjoy, indeed love, the Holland America ships I think I will avoid the cruise to New Zealand again, because of this Maori "cultural" group. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was a bucket list trip for my husband and I. Always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia and this cruise was a great way to do it! It was a celebration of our 30th anniversary. We just did one excursion through Holland ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip for my husband and I. Always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia and this cruise was a great way to do it! It was a celebration of our 30th anniversary. We just did one excursion through Holland America, as we found their prices to be rather high. Booked excursions on our own and with a group of Cruise Critic members. Very happy all around. The Maasdam was a little dated but very well maintained. The crew was constantly cleaning everywhere. Cleanliness was obviously a top priority on the boat. We used the gym daily. Very pleased with their offerings. I went to the morning stretch and abs classes most days, they were great. Entertainment was fair. A few good nights but nothing special. I really liked the Americas Test Kitchen cooking demos. Very interesting and well taught. Overall we had a fabulous time! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I am not a complainer and prefer positive feedback. This is a little of both. I can only compare to P. & O. Stateroom, food, staff exceptional. I did not find as much fun as P. & O. lines. The Gala nights were almost not, ... Read More
I am not a complainer and prefer positive feedback. This is a little of both. I can only compare to P. & O. Stateroom, food, staff exceptional. I did not find as much fun as P. & O. lines. The Gala nights were almost not, sure we dressed up but nothing special went on. I missed the buzz of theme nights. Activities were mostly, to me and my two daughters, boring. I mean who goes on a holiday to have lessons in cooking, computer and digital camera. The art was exceptional, the Spa was great albiet very overpriced. Shops were better than P. & O. and the bars were great altho the cocktails I love just did not taste the same as P. & O. We loved our rooms next door to each other and balconies which were opened so we enjoyed going in and out of each others rooms without having to knock. When I was sick it was great my daughters could check on me without me getting out of bed. The Restaurants were wonderful and staff everywhere as I said were exceptional,. Entertainment was mediocre but enjoyable. Summery: Theme nights more fun, activities which are fun rather than chores. Would I go on a Dam again. Not sure, but as an avid cruiser it is possible. I did win a "cruise" but was told that it is not actually a cruise you get whereas when I won one on Aria, myself and friend have a balcony suite for two and ten day cruise, so with P. & O. I did win a full cruise, have not rung yet but will be interested to see exactly what I won with Noordam. Excursions - unfortunately I am physically unable to get into a tender so could only do two shore excursions which I enjoyed immensely. I took a photography package and photographer was wonderful, we have everlasting memories. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of ... Read More
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of the European Union we didn't need any Visa or ETA. in New Zealand. The friendliness of the people of New Zealand and Australia has to be mentioned specially. No arrogance or security phobia by the embarkation in Auckland OR disembarkation in Sydney as experienced in an other big English speaking country! The cleanliness on board and on land is remarkable. On board were many citizen of not English countries.We would like to have a little less US american shows and more other main languages oriented activities, even subtitled! The songs of the entertainment group of the ship were purely sung in us american..even if they are of Italian, German or French origin. . The service in the lido by the Filipino cooks and Indonesian waitresses and waiters is remarkable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise principally for the itinerary, that of visiting all those “paradisicle” islands. We were not disappointed. Moorea, in Tahiti, was our favourite. It was a place of beautiful geography and given higher medical ... Read More
We chose this cruise principally for the itinerary, that of visiting all those “paradisicle” islands. We were not disappointed. Moorea, in Tahiti, was our favourite. It was a place of beautiful geography and given higher medical standards (we're getting older), we'd look into spending a couple of months a year as residents. While most destinations offered a splendid experience, a couple could have remained off the list. Though it is easy to nitpick about things and complain, generally, we found Holland America Lines, HAL, provided its usual reliable service, that of a clean cabin, great breakfasts and lunches and decent on board diversions. The island of Dravuni, was an especially wonderful place who's 200 inhabitants put on a lovely show. It was free but most who viewed it made a cash contribution; a surprise given that Kiwis and Aussies are prone to avoid doing such things. Also, outr last stop, Wiatangi, was a great spot. Pity our visit was so short. Most who went ashore were slow to return and all we spoke with agreed that we could have spent much more time there. Their market offered more than the usual platitudes and souvineirs. The only fly in the ointment for us was HAL's handling of tenders for folks not taking HAL's shore excursions. Because of this method, we missed our excursion despite being abundantly early to obtain tender tickets (we were in the waiting area at 07:20 for a 08:30 departure only to be dropped off at 09:10). Fortunately the operator had a PM tour with 2 remaining spots. We were made to feel like second class guests by HAL's tendering policy as it concerned ”private tours”. This must change. Some have found the ship's singers and dancers repeated the shows. Perhaps this was so for those folks who cruise more than us but, not having seen them previously, we found the shows very entertaining and thought the troup as the best we've seen and heard on the three cruise lines we've beeen on (HAL, Princess and Celebrity). May HAL keep these truly midsized ships. Not crowded and elbow room for all, at 1200 guests, it was perfect. These things are very appealing to persons of our age group, 60 and up as there were no drunks or party animals. May we suggest the reintroduction of on board ship games and Lido BBQs. Tahiti would have been a good time for it the Lido bash. This festive occasion, unlike on other HAL voyages, was not offered. We'd certainly recommend this cruise to family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Noordam 82318 tons 918 cabins Last Drydock 2018 9/28/2017 Room 6090 The Good Our room was in a great location! Only a few rooms aft of the midship elevator. We had two panoramic midship elevators on either side, ... Read More
Noordam 82318 tons 918 cabins Last Drydock 2018 9/28/2017 Room 6090 The Good Our room was in a great location! Only a few rooms aft of the midship elevator. We had two panoramic midship elevators on either side, and also some central midship elevators. We had the pilot boat arrive right under us. We also got to see the Sydney Opera House from our balcony as we arrived into Sydney. On the other hand, we had a crane sitting right outside our window in one of the Fiji stops. Signature Suites come with some nice square footage (280 square feet of room and 100 square feet of balcony). If we’re going to be on a long cruise, we want some elbow room! They’re wide enough that one of us didn’t have to back up if we met at the foot of the bed on the way to the bathroom. For those with mobility problems, this is key. We had a tub/shower with a separate shower and two sinks. The bathroom was also wide enough that one could move past someone standing at the close sink to the other sink. We had a European and American outlet at the desk, and also the vanity. Since we have an international adapter sets for Kindle and iPad, we were able to utilize all the plugs. Great cabin steward! On embarkation day, we give them a written list of preferences to break the ice with them. We about two weeks in, we put him in our top five of a lot of cruises, and later in the cruise we moved him to the top three. We never returned to a dirty room in 38-days. We did leave the “Make Up Room” lock holder when we left for Breakfast and Dinner. Dining - MDR. Another excellent experience. We give the waiter, assistant waiter and boss with a list of preferences to make it easier for them. We had the same team for the entire 38-day voyage. We ate in the MDR. I don’t think we missed an evening. Our assistant waiter served us coffee with HEATED cups! Our waiter managed my allergy seamlessly. He would bring the next day’s menu with the dessert and say “take your time.” Lectures - The lectures San Francisco to Sydney were fabulous. The container lecture was the most interesting lecture of the batch for me. Especially when we got to the Pacific Islands, and saw all container ports. We wished they’d been able to continue the lectures after Sydney. Pinnacle Grill - Lunch - Really great service! We had the same waiter the five or six times we visited. I loved the chocolate dessert with caramel popcorn! Ocean Bar - Great Waitress! Again, one of the top waitresses we’ve had! We met each sea day at the Crow’s Nest for Knitting, Crochet, and Stitching. Our group numbered over 20, and we had a great time sharing stories, suggestions for upcoming ports. (One member planned to do all the Lord of the Rings Shore Excursions.) After Sydney, one of the bartenders visited daily for drink orders. All cargo ports in the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, so no Wifi. All Kiwi (New Zealand citizens) needed a permit to enter their ports. Security entered the bus and checked all ship cards and identification cards. Before we could leave the ship, they played a recording of forbidden items in New Zealand: no food, honey, wood, of any kind, etc. Only commercial bottled water. Once or twice the cruise director told us only unopened bottled water. In Napier they had a band playing in port when we returned from our EXC tour. Bus drivers must take a driving test every year, and we were happy to learn that they must exit the bus and stand next to the door to help tourists if needed. EXC Tours - Each Guide was very knowledgeable and made our tours memorable. . Clean Windows on the Buses. Nice grab bars to help climb those really tall steps to onto the bus. Good lectures by the guides. Great buses with nice long seatbelts in Sydney and Melbourne. Mentioned the super high bus steps (Tasmania’s bus step came up to a couple inches below my knee), to the EXC staff must have mentioned this to the tour groups, because the bus drivers started providing step stools. Also, noticed the bus drivers started driving the buses right up to the gangplank in New Zealand. Fabulous guide in Hobart Wildlife and Waterways. This lady is finishing her PhD in Tanmania History. Best tour guide of the trip! Napier - Sheep Sheering & Scones Mountain Ride! Great guide and great bus. This bus had comfortable seats, a screen at the front showing a live view of the road ahead. With strict food rules in New Zealand, it’s a good idea to book an excursion with a snack or meal included. This guide trained the others to drive up the mountain road. “Ice Cream Sample” was much larger than expected, I think those 4 ounce single servings at our grocery store were smaller! It would have been much better to stagger the two busloads. At the sheep sheering and afternoon tea, since both were at the same location, have one bus doing the tea while the other did the inside part of the sheep sheering, then switch. Very crowded store at the sheep shearing stop. Wellington - Guide’s coffee recommendation was SO true. Very strong coffee but not bitter. We’re so glad he suggested it, but it’s taking a long time to get used to American Coffee. Wellington has some very interesting rules for bus drivers. He pulled down a narrow street, and the cars had to make room for him by either backing up or going over curbs. The Needs Improvement One of the elevators was down for four straight days. Cruise Director did not schedule our Knitting, Crochet and Stitching group in the daily program, but it may not have been his fault. We heard this decision came from corporate. He seemed glad we found each other. At the collector’s cruise lecture, he read word for word from the handout. At the end of the presentation, he declined to answer a question about a possible conflict with a EXC tour and muster drill, and walked back stage. EXC Tours I had sent an email to headquarters about my disappointment with the way they organize the shore excursions, but so far no answer. The tours need to be staggered so only one bus load at a time at each stop. Some of the tours were to crowded, I didn’t want to shop the local stores. With a few exceptions, too rushed, not enough time at each stop, too crowded. Each bus seemed to have something wrong: A/C blowing very warm air, middle bus door didn’t open, etc. When we have a 15-minute stop, and it takes five minutes to load and unload the bus, there’s not much time left for viewing the sights. Cancellation policy now 48 hours. EXC employee worked at the desk and in the Vista Lounge with some type of upper respiratory infection. She tried to announce shore excursions on port days while she had no voice. A few days later, we both came down with upper respiratory infections too. Some EXC tours had meeting times at 11 am, but the Lido opened at 11:30 am. Also, no food stalls just off the ship in port. With strict food rules in New Zealand, I wish they’d have at least a snack on all tours offered. Tauranga - Yes, it goes in the “bad” section. We’re not planning on booking any more EXC tours in Tauranga. Our bus had very uncomfortable seats, no head rests, no seatbelts. Front seats foot area was so narrow, a man next to us couldn’t put his foot all the way down. It had a ramp down the center aisle to a step, and I saw several people fall. Also, the bus had backward facing seats. The tour guide sat in an open seat for a few minutes, then stood back up and spent the rest of the four hour tour standing at the front of the bus. We almost quit the tour at the first stop and took a taxi back to the ship. Did you make the sale? Yes, we got a couple more Future Cruise Deposits Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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